Animal Wise by Virginia Morell: Video Review

How do animals think? Do fish feel pain? Do ants teach? Explore these questions (and many more) in Virginia Morell’s book, Animal Wise.

Animal Wise is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while! As you probably know from the review I did of Frans De Waal’s “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?”(available here), I’m endlessly fascinated by the subject of animal intelligence. This book by Virginia Morel (a writer for National Geographic Magazine) examines the work of researchers studying animal intelligence around the world.

One thing I really appreciated about this book is its breadth: Morell discusses fish, ants, birds, dolphins, wolves, apes and a whole host of other creatures. This is not your classic “dolphins are smart, too” book on animal intelligence. And, in fact, I felt that the strongest chapters were the ones on animals we don’t tend to think of as particularly smart – such as fish and ants.

Morell also did a great job of addressing the way in which some of our assumptions about animals have hindered productive research. Limiting beliefs, such as the notion that animals don’t have emotions, have been so closely held by the scientific community that they have led researchers to discount important discoveries. Also, preconceived notions about brains (namely, that brain size, weight and number of neurons is the defining feature of intelligence) have led scientists to make serious errors when evaluating the intelligence of birds.

If you find animals interesting, this book is a must-read. It will challenge your assumptions, and leave you armed with a host of animal factoids that will make you the life of your next cocktail party. What’s not to like?

Get “Animal Wise” by Virginia Morell here: http://amzn.to/2rJ6p7G (affiliate. It really helps me out, thanks!)

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